Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bible Study on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

The Chronicles of Narnia:

The Last Battle

Get the books!
The Chronicles of Narnia (Audio Drama)
Or the radio drama!

Authorship: The Chronicles of Narnia were written by C.S. Lewis, a Christian English professor at Oxford College in England.  The first volume was published in 1950.  All seven books are stories meant to remind us of the greatest story of all, the Bible.

Setting: This book takes place directly after The Silver Chair.  It has again been a long time in Narnia, but only a short time in our world.

Discussion Points
* The story begins with two characters.  One is an ape named Shift, and the other is a donkey named Puzzle. 

What can you tell me about these two characters?  What are some of the characteristics of Shift?

Manipulative – He lies to and tricks Puzzle

Hypocritical – He acts like he is Puzzle's friend and that he's trying to be nice to him, but he's really just
trying to get Puzzle to do things for him

Selfish – Shift is not concerned about anyone or anything other than himself and what he wants

Have you ever acted like Shift does?  Have you ever lied to or tricked someone to get what you want?  Have you "put on a show" to get others to do what you want?  Have you ever been too concerned with yourself when you should have been concerned about others?

What are some of the characteristics of Puzzle?

Kind – He is always willing to help Shift, he doesn't do anything that's mean

Loyal – Puzzle stays friends with Shift, even when Shift makes him do things that he doesn't want to do

Too Dependent – Puzzle will sometimes object to what Shift says, but ultimately he trusts Shift so much
that he doesn't think for himself.  He depends too much on Shift and not enough on himself.

Do you think Shift could have carried out his plan if Puzzle would have stood his ground? 

King Tirian and his unicorn Jewel, have been hearing rumors that Aslan has finally returned to Narnia.  They are overjoyed.  But then, after they go to investigate who is cutting down the talking trees, they start hearing that Aslan is the one who is giving the orders for all of these bad things to happen.  Tirian and Jewel get confused.  In all the stories about Aslan, he is good.  But now they wonder if Aslan is really bad.  They were tricked into thinking that Aslan caused something bad to happen.  

There are all kinds of things that happen in our lives and in our world.  Some things that happen are good.  Some things are bad.  How do we know what is from God and what is not?  Here's what the Bible says: 

Psalm 145:17 - The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made.

God is good.

James 1:16-17 - Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

God is good.  God doesn't change.

Malachi 3:6 - "I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.

God doesn't change.  God is good.

Psalm 102:25-2725 In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. 26 They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded.    27 But you remain the same, and your years will never end.

God doesn't change.

The Bible tells us that God is good and that He doesn't change.  God will always be good.  The problem is that sometimes the things that God causes to happen in our lives seem bad.  That's because we can't tell how God is ultimately going to use it for good.  We can't see all the possibilities and consequences of the things that God causes to happen.  We just to have faith that God is good and that God is working for our ultimate good.  

When King Tirian and Jewel hear about how someone is killing the talking trees, they get very angry.  Then, when they see some Calormens beating a Narnian horse, Tirian and Jewel become so angry that they kill the Calormens.

What do you think about what Tirian and Jewel did?  Should they have gotten angry? 

Yes.  King Tirian and Jewel had every right to become angry, just like we have every right to become angry when we see people treating other people wrongly.  We should be angry when people treat other people wrongly.

Should they have killed the Calormens?

No.  Tirian and Jewel did the right thing by trying to stop the Calormens from murdering and taking advantage of others.  We have a duty to try to stop people from treating other people unfairly.  Killing, however, should always be our last option.

* Shift orders that King Tirian be tied up to a tree.  While he is there, Tirian begins to remember all the ways in which Aslan has helped Narnia in the past.  He also recalls all the times that Aslan brought the children from our world to help Narnia.  Tirian then cries out to Aslan, asking Him to come help or to send the children to help.  What is Tirian doing crying out to Aslan and asking for help?  If Tirian was a person in our world and Aslan was God, what would we call what Tirian is doing?  Tirian is praying.

What does Tirian do when he's in trouble?  He prays. 

Aslan must have heard him because He sends two of the children from our world into Narnia to help him. 

Do you think God hears us when we pray?

Deuteronomy 4:7 - What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him?

The Bible tells us that God hears us when we pray to Him.  We tend to take that for granted, but to have our God hear us is really an amazing thing.  Think of all the other people in the world who pray to other gods.  Do you think their gods hear them praying? 

Deuteronomy 32:39 - See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.

Other gods that people pray to can't hear their prayers.  Those gods aren't real so they can't hear anything, especially not people praying to them.

Does God answer all of our prayers?  Yes, God answers all of our prayers.

What are the different ways that God can answer prayer? God can answer prayer by either granting our request, denying our request, or telling us to wait a little longer before He answers our prayer one way or another.

Why doesn't God grant all of our prayers?  Why does God grant the prayers that He does grant?

1 John 5:14-15 - This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

God will only grant our prayers if we pray for what is in agreement with His will.  In other words, God isn't going to grant me just anything that I ask for.  He's not a Genie in a bottle.  He's not Santa Claus.  I can't just pray for God to give me a million dollars and expect Him to give it to me if it isn't His will, if it isn't His plan, to give me a million dollars.  Even if I ask for something good, that doesn't guarantee that God will grant my prayer.  For instance, if someone I know gets sick and I pray to God for them to get better, that's a perfectly fine prayer, but if it's not God's will for that person to get will, if He has decided that it is time for that person to die, then He will not grant my prayer.

What should we do when we pray in order to have more of our prayers granted?  If God only grants prayers that are according to His will, when we pray we should ask God what His will is.  Instead of just asking God for things, spend time listening for what He might want to tell you.  God speak to us in our prayer time.  If we listen for what God wants to say to us, He will tell us what His will is and what we should pray for.  The Holy Spirit living inside of us will guide our hearts and our minds to what we should pray for.

Romans 8:26-27 - In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

Ephesians 6:18 - And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

*Why do you think all of the Friends of Narnia were gathered together?  They were talking about their times in Narnia.  Why couldn't they talk to other people about their times in Narnia?  No one else would take them seriously or really understand what they were talking about.  Some people may have made fun of them or thought they were crazy.

Christians have the same problem that the Friends of Narnia did in the story.  Like them, we have experienced something that no one else has.  We believe in God, and we believe that we can have a real relationship with Him.  A lot of people don't believe that.  They think we're silly or mistaken or stupid for believing in God.  In some parts of the world, people kill Christians for believing what we believe.  That's why it is important for us to meet together, like the Friends of Narnia were doing, to talk about our experiences?

After Jesus had been crucified by the Jewish and Roman authorities, the followers of Jesus were afraid that the Jews and the Romans would want to punish them next for believing in Jesus.  Even after Jesus was resurrected and ascended into Heaven, many Jews and Romans did not believe in Him, so those first Christians still had good reason to be afraid of the authorities.  If they had crucified Jesus, they would have no reason not to punish His followers.  We see in Acts that many Christians were persecuted for their beliefs.  One thing that helped keep them stay faithful, though, whether they were being persecuted at the time or not, was being with other Christians.  Here's what Acts tells us they did together:

Acts 2: 42-47 - They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

They listened to teaching together (they learned together).  They broke bread together (communion).  They prayed together.  They sold their possessions and gave to those in need. (Tithing, giving offering, sacrificing your finances to help other people).  They met together.  They ate together (like we eat together for socializing).  We do all the things that they did, for the same reasons.  We know that we need to be together to encourage each other in the Christian faith and in living life as a Christian person. 

Here's what a passage in the Old Testament says about the need for having good companions in life:

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 - Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

This verse shows us that we need to help each other and that we can be stronger than alone. 

In order for us to be able to help each other, God gives us gifts and talents.  Our talents and gifts individually are different from everyone else's.  This is so that we can all work together, just like the parts of our body all work together.

1 Corinthians 12:7-13 - Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. 12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
Take a minute right now and write down two ways that your church family or other Christians you know help you in your Christian faith.  

Now take a minute and write down two ways that you can help your church family or other Christians that you know in their Christian faith

* Now, we hear more about Tash.  Who or what do you think Tash is?  Before, we didn't know if Tash was a story that the Calormens made up, or if he really was their god.  Now we know that Tash is a demon.  So the Calormens think he is a god.  But we think he is a demon.

Do you think that we have other gods or demons in our world? 

Deuteronomy 32:16-17 - They made him jealous with their foreign gods and angered him with their detestable idols. 17 They sacrificed to demons, which are not God— gods they had not known, gods that recently appeared, gods your fathers did not fear.

1 Corinthians 10:19-20 - Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.

Other gods that people worship are demons.  Demons have tricked people into thinking they're gods.

So, what do demons in our world do?  They tempt people.  Does Satan and the demons have power to tempt people on their own authority?  Can they just do whatever they want?  

Job 1:6-12 - One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." 8 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." 9 "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. 10 "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." 12 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

Job 2:1-7 - On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. 2 And the LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?"  Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." 3 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason." 4 "Skin for skin!" Satan replied. "A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face." 6 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life." 7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.

Sometimes, we get this idea that Satan and the demons can just do whatever they want and God doesn't do anything to stop them, but that simply isn't true.  This passage tells us that Satan and his demons must answer to God.  Satan is under God's control.  Satan cannot do anything that God has not first approved of. 

Matthew 4:1 - Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.

God wanted Jesus to be tempted.  The Spirit led Him into the desert for that purpose.

Deuteronomy 8:2 - Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.

This verse tells us that God led the Israelites through the desert to test them.  Their test was whether or not they allowed themselves to be tempted to sin.  So we see that God wanted them to be tempted as well.  Otherwise, He couldn't have tested them.

James 1:13 - When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;

God doesn't tempt anyone.  But the verses we just read said that God did want people to be tempted.  So how does God make it so that people are tempted without Him doing the tempting?  God uses Satan and the demons to tempt/test people.  God created Satan and the demons for this very purpose.

Why would God want people to be tempted?  Why would God use Satan and the demons to do this to us?  We don't know.  All we can know is that God is all-good and all-wise and that He must have a reason for doing what He does.

1 Kings 22:19-23 - Micaiah continued, "Therefore hear the word of the LORD : I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. 20 And the LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?' "One suggested this, and another that. 21 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, 'I will entice him.' 22 " 'By what means?' the LORD asked. " 'I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,' he said. " 'You will succeed in enticing him,' said the LORD. 'Go and do it.' 23 "So now the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you."

1 Samuel 16:14-15 - Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him. 15 Saul's attendants said to him, "See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you.

*Throughout our story, and really throughout the Chronicles of Narnia, we have heard about people going into battle.  Our characters are brave, but they're also afraid of dying.  It's normal to be afraid of death.  Most people are afraid of dying.  But the Bible, I think, tells us that Christians do not have to be afraid to die.

Romans 14:7-9 - For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.  We are God's.  We are God's property.  Why do we not need to fear death?  Because it's not our business if we die.  Why should you care if you die?  Your life is not yours, anyway.  It's God's.  God owns you.  It's not your business if you die.  It's God's business.  You're His property.  Don't worry about it.

Luke 12:4-7 - "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. 6Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

What is Jesus saying in these verses?  He's saying, "Don't fear death.  Fear God.  You dying is not what really matters.  God is what matters.  You die, you're killed?  Don't worry about that.  Worry about God.  He's the one who could really hurt you.  Everything else hurts your body, but God can hurt your soul.  But the great thing about God is that He's not going to do that.  He cares about you.  Here's this God that could just throw you into Hell if He wanted, but instead, He cares so much about you that He even knows how many hairs are on your head and tells us that we are worth more than many sparrows."

Now, if you are God's, and God cares about you, what does God want to do with you?

John 6:39-40 - And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

This is what God wants.  He wants that none of His people will be lost.  He wants that everyone who believes in Jesus to have eternal life and to be brought back to life at the last day.  That's why we don't need to fear death.  We are God's.  God cares about us.  God will give us resurrect us at the last day and give us eternal life.    

Paul, after suffering intense persecution for being a Christian, in which he was always in danger of being killed for his faith, says that he did not let himself fear death too much.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 - Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Paul did not lose heart.  He had the hope that whatever troubles he was going through on earth – persecution, being on trial, possibly murdered or executed – those things would seem like nothing compared to the joy he would have in Heaven.  He saw that our troubles are temporary.  Incredible happiness in Heaven is forever.

Philippians 1:20-26 - I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.

For the Christian, it is a good thing for us to die.  We know that if we die, we will be with Jesus and with God and that is much better for us than staying here.  Life for us here can be pretty good, but life in Heaven will be incredible joy.  Paul says that the only reason he doesn't want to die now is because he wants to keep helping people.  That's the reason that we should not want to die sooner than God wants us to.  We know that it would be good for us if we died, but the people that we leave behind will be sad to see us go.  Our family and friends will miss us. 

Yet, when the time comes for us to die, because we know that we are God's, because we know that God cares about us, because we know that will bring us back to life and give us eternal life, because we know that it is to our benefit to die, we don't need to fear death.  Instead, when it is our time to go, we can calmly say what Jesus said when He died. 

Luke 23:46 - Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.

Jesus was not afraid to die, and we don't have to be either if we trust in God.

* Now, we hear about the end of Narnia.  During that time, Aslan called all of the animals and all of the creatures of Narnia to come and stand before Him.  As some of the animals looked at Him, they became very happy and went through the stable door, which we now know is the door to Aslan's country, or what we call Heaven.  

But when some of the animals and creatures looked at Aslan, they became afraid and even hateful and angry, and they went off to the other side.  They weren't allowed to come into Aslan's country.  What do you think was happening to those other animals and creatures that weren't allowed to go to Aslan's country?  Where were they going?  Hell.  

So, some went to Heaven, and some went to Hell.  And that's exactly what the Bible tells us will happen when our world ends.  God will judge all of us, and we will either go to Heaven or we will go to Hell.  Today, what I want to talk to you about is what we have to do to be one of the people that gets to go to Heaven.

John 6:39-40 - And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

Number one is that we have to believe in Jesus.  We all know that, right?  But let's not forget it.  That is the number one thing.  That is the first step.

Now, let's look at the passage in the Bible where C.S. Lewis got the idea for this part of his book.

Matthew 25:31-46 - "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Why did some people get to go to Heaven?  Because they did things for other people. 

 Why did some people have to go to Hell?  Because they did not do things for other people. 

Does this mean that Jesus is telling us that what we do – our good deeds – are what save us?  No.  

Believing in Jesus is what saves us.  But if we really believe in Jesus, then we will do good deeds.  What you believe determines what you will do.  So what you do is evidence of what you believe.  If you say that you're a Christian, but you don't behave like the Bible says a Christian should behave – if you don't do good deeds, then I would start to doubt whether you really are a Christian.  

So, how do we get to Heaven?  We show that we believe in Jesus by doing good things, by living the right way.

Romans 2:5-11 - But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6God "will give to each person according to what he has done." 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.

Revelation 2:8-11 - "To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. 9I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

Jesus is telling us that bad times, hard times, will come to us, but what do we have to do?  We have to be faithful, even to the point of death.  And what will happen if we are faithful?  Jesus will give us the crown of life.  What is the crown of life?  Eternal life.

This is what those who are faithful will hear when they enter Heaven:

Matthew 25:21 - Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful.  Come and share your master's happiness.  That's what I want to hear when I die.

But Jesus tells us that some people won't hear that.  They will hear something else.

Matthew 7:21-23 - "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

Jesus says that not everyone who says that they're a Christian, not everyone who calls Jesus Lord, will get into Heaven.  Who will get into Heaven?  Those who do God's will.  Those who obey God.  If we don't obey God, what does Jesus say He will say to us?  "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"

2 Corinthians 5:10 - For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

* The Chronicles of Narnia ends with everyone going to Aslan's country or Heaven.  That is a very appropriate ending for C.S. Lewis' story because it is the ending of our story, as well.  Our ultimate goal, the end toward which we are moving, is Heaven.  Over the last couple of weeks, we've talked about how Christians don't have to be afraid to die because we know that we'll go to Heaven.  We've talked about how we have to believe in Jesus and live a Christian life if we want to get into Heaven.  Today we're going to talk about what will happen when we go to Heaven and what Heaven will be like.

Matthew 24:30-31 - At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

Who is the Son of Man?  Jesus.  

So, Jesus is telling us that He will come back on the clouds of the sky.  

Why will He come back on the clouds of the sky?  Because after He was resurrected, He was taken up into the sky and went to Heaven.  He's going to come back the way He went.  

And what will He send His angels to do?  To gather His elect.  

Who are the elect?  Christians.  So, Jesus will send His angels to gather all of the Christians to Himself.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 - Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage each other with these words.

Paul talks about those who have fallen asleep.  A lot of times when the New Testament talks about someone dying, it says that they fell asleep.  The reason for saying that they fell asleep instead of that they died, is because Christians know that death is not final.  Death is not forever.  One day, Jesus will bring everyone who has died back to life, and it will be like they're waking up again from a long sleep.  Paul says that when Jesus comes back, He will raise to life all the Christians that have died and they will meet Jesus in the air.  Remember that Jesus is coming back on the clouds.  And then the Christians who have not died yet, who have not fallen asleep yet, will be lifted up to meet Jesus in the sky.

1 Corinthians 15:35-58 - But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?" 36How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. 42So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.  If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. 50I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." 55"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Our body in Heaven will not be like our body on earth.  Our body on earth will be changed.  Why is this?  Because our body on earth can get sick and die.  In Heaven, we will need a new body that cannot die.  When Jesus rose from the dead, He took away death's power over us.  We die, but death cannot keep its hold on us forever.  Death eventually has to let us go when Jesus raises us from the dead.  After that, He will give us a new body and we will not die again.

Revelation 21:1-4 - Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

These verses tell us that there will be a new heaven and a new earth a new Jerusalem because the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, just like the first Narnia passed away, but there was another, better Narnia that the characters in the story were able to go to.  And in this new place, God will live with people.  This means that we will not have to pray to God.  We will be able to just go up and talk to Him.  We'll be able to see Him.  We'll be able to touch Him.  And in this new place that we call Heaven, there will be no more death and no more being sad and no more crying and no more pain.  God Himself, will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and once God wipes away our tears, they won't come back.  

What does this mean?  This means that in Heaven, everyone will be incredibly happy all the time.

Revelation 21:22-27 - I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

John tells us here that nothing impure or shameful or deceitful will enter Heaven.  There will be no more sin in Heaven.  Everyone will always do what is right.


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